Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Floods - Information Bulletin n° 2

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In Brief

This Bulletin is being issued for information only, and reflects the situation and the information available at this time. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Heavy incessant rains in early August have caused serious flooding in six provinces across Central Viet Nam and its Central Highlands. With a downpour of some 10,000 mm in four days, the provinces of Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Gia Lai, Dak Nong, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh have been severely affected.

Two needs assessment teams comprising representatives of the government of Viet Nam, the United Nations, nongovernment organizations and the Viet Nam Red Cross (VNRC) have prepared a report clarifying the impact of the disaster. Flooding in the affected areas has been the most devastating since 1944, claiming lives of 74 people and injuring 130. Total damage has been estimated at USD 130 million (CHF 156.4 million1).

The report also indicates that some 1,848 houses have collapsed and 170,656 badly damaged as of 17 August 2007. Personal belongings, household items and food stocks have been damaged, and livelihoods disrupted. About 66,943 hectares of rice fields have been inundated with floodwater for several days, of which 23,655 hectares are completely lost. Some 40,000 hectares of farmland have been submerged, destroying valuable vegetable fields. Initial estimates show agricultural losses of up to 30,000 tonnes of rice in the coming harvest. Around 4,267 hectares of aqua-cultural farms are also damaged.

The hardest hit provinces are Ha Tinh and Quang Binh in the central zone, and Dak Lak in the central highlands. These are classified by the government among the poorest provinces in Viet Nam. Altogether, 27 communes in Ha Tinh and 66 communes in six districts in Quang Binh were submerged in flood waters for up to four days. In Dak Lak, 3,775 families from minority groups living in lowland high-risk locations had to be evacuated to safer surroundings for two to three days.

Damages are calculated at USD 40 million (CHF 48.1 million) in Ha Tinh against the initially estimated USD 28 million, accounting for ten per cent of the province's gross domestic product. Similarly, Quang Binh province sustained damages amounting to USD 38 million (CHF 45.7 million), an increase of 13 per cent against the initial estimation of 12 per cent of the province's GDP. Losses in Dak Lak are estimated as much as USD 39 million (CHF 47 million) or eight per cent of the province's GDP.

About 130,000 people (approximately ten per cent of the resident population) were severely affected by the floods in Ha Tinh province, with 80 percent of this concentrated in the two mountainous districts. In Quang Binh province, 240,000 people constituting 30 percent of the resident population face the same situation as do some 46,000 people in Dak Lak, comprising 29 percent of the province's resident population.

Electrical supply was disrupted for four days while submerged roads and railway lines affected transportation and communication between the North and South for several days. Repairs are ongoing on the 154 km of road damaged.

It has been nearly three weeks since disaster first struck. Beneficiaries have returned to their houses, and gradually to their everyday lives. However, it will not be easy for those whose belongings and/or houses have been destroyed or washed away. It is also obvious that they all face food shortages that will last for eight months until the next harvest in April 2008. To many families, another great concern is where to obtain money for their children's new text books when the school year begins again.

In addition, a large number of the beneficiaries live in rural and mountainous areas where drinking water is obtained from open household wells. These wells have been contaminated by the flooding, thus increasing health risks. The Viet Nam ministry of health in cooperation with other relevant authorities is working on water decontamination. To date, no disease has been reported in the affected areas.

The impact of the flood has received national and international attention. The government of Viet Nam has pledged to release 3,000 tonnes of rice to cover immediate needs, and USD 5 million (CHF 6 million) for relief and rehabilitation to the five affected provinces, focusing on the most severely hit provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Dak Lak. The government's support is indicated in the following table:

Provinces
Cash
(converted into USD)
Rice
(tonne)
Ha Tinh
1,250,000
1,500
Quang Binh
1,250,000
1,500
Dak Lak
937,000
-
Dac Nong
625,000
-
Lam Dong
625,000
-
Kon Tum
312,000
-

The Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) has launched a local appeal to seek support for the affected people. International organizations active in Viet Nam have also responded. To date, Oxfam, USAID (through Care International), Save Children Alliance, and the Canadian government through its embassy, are reported to provide collective support amounting to USD 432,600 (CHF 520,000). This support is mainly for the two provinces of Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, and seeks to provide rice, utensils, and household kits, sterilization of water wells, and reconstruction of houses. These relief activities are coordinated by the People's Aid Coordinating Committee (Paccom) or directly by the provincial authorities.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

- Viet Nam Red Cross: Mr. Doan Van Thai (vice-president cum secretary- general), mobile: +84 913 216 549, email: dvanthai@hn.vnn.vn and Dr. Trinh Bang Hop (director of international relations and development department), email: vnrchq@netnam.org.vn, phone: +84.4.822.4320; Phung Van Hoan, disaster management manager, email: vnrcdp@fpt.vn; phone +84.904.117.981

- Federation country delegation in Viet Nam: Irja Sandberg (Federation representative), email: irja.sandberg@ifrc.org, phone: +84.4.942.2980 (ext. 216), fax: +84.4.942.2987; or Dang Van Tao, disaster management manager, email: tao.vandang@ifrc.org, phone +84.913.361.581

- Federation Southeast Asia regional delegation in Thailand: Bekele Geleta (head of regional delegation); email: bekele.geleta@ifrc.org; phone: +66.2.661.8201; fax: +66.2.661.9322; or Michael Annear, head of regional disaster management unit, email: michael.annear@ifrc.org; phone +66.817539598.

- Federation Secretariat in Geneva (Asia Pacific department): Sabine Feuglet (senior assistant); email: sabine.feuglet@ifrc.org; Phone: +41.22.730. 4349; Fax: +41.22.733.0395

- Asia Pacific Zone in Kuala Lumpur: Ms Amy Gaver, phone: + 60.3.2161.0892, fax: +60.3.2161.1210, mobile: +60.12.220.1174, email: amy.gaver@ifrc.org